Muslim groups to file complaint over prophet cartoons to UN human rights commission

Christian Wienberg
A network of Danish Muslim organizations will file a complaint against Denmark at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights for not pressing charges against the newspaper that first published the contentious Prophet Muhammad cartoons, a lawyer representing the group said Friday.

The 27 Muslim groups plan also to sue the newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, for defamation in a Danish court, lawyer Michael Christiani Havemann told The Associated Press.

"Denmark is obliged through the U.N. to secure the civil rights of its citizens," Havemann said by telephone. "The national prosecutor won't pursue the case and, therefore, acts as a barrier to justice to the complainants."

Denmark's top prosecutor said Wednesday he would not charge Jyllands-Posten because the drawings published Sept. 30 did not violate Denmark's laws against blasphemous and racist speech.

The cartoons, one of which shows Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb, were reprinted by media worldwide in January and February, and sparked a wave of protests around the Islamic world. Protesters were killed in some of the most violent demonstrations and several European embassies were attacked.

A boycott on Danish goods started in Saudi Arabia on Jan. 26 and spread to dozens of Muslim countries.

Sunni Muslim tradition bans any image of the prophet, since depicting him risks insulting him or encouraging idolatry.

Havemann said he would file the complaint within weeks to the Geneva-based human rights commission in cooperation with a U.S. Muslim organization called the International Committee for the Support of the Final Prophet.

"We think we have a good case," he said.

In his ruling Wednesday, Director of Public Prosecutions Henning Fode said the cartoons could be considered an affront to the prophet, but did not break Danish law.

The prosecutor's ruling prompted the Foreign Ministry to upgrade its travel warnings for Danes traveling in Muslim countries from Algeria to Malaysia.

Published March 17, 2006, Associated Press

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